The Acer C205 projector: pocketable powerhouse for pennies
PROJECTORS for computers landed in most people's do-want lists pretty much as soon as they came out.
Unfortunately, their price in the early days tended to be in the high four-figure range at least. They were also fairly large and used light bulbs that cost limbs to replace.
Acer's C205 projector costs $499, could fit in decent jeans pockets and can throw a clear 1080p picture across a room. We've come a long way.
So now you've got a projector that runs on batteries and has built-in speakers that don't embarrass themselves. What do you do?
First you get suspicious that the picture quality won't be any good. Even in the middle of the day with the curtains drawn, you're still getting a picture good enough to enjoy a Bluray of Despicable Me.
Next you get suspicious that it's going to overheat quickly because of the small form-factor. A few hours later and it's still cool to the touch.
So far so good.
I can imagine this working well for people in sales who go from place to place and need a sophisticated yet mobile way of presenting to clients.
I can imagine it working well for performers who want to add something to their public performances.
But in the end, it's just as good in the use we all wanted it for when they first came out - as an affordable way of laying in bed with the far wall lit up as our own personal cinema.
The buttons on the top of the projector run flush and make for a clean and more attractive look. Unfortunately it also makes it hard to hold it from the top when moving it without accidentally pressing the audio and brightness controls.
The choice of HDMI cable for connecting to media sources is perfect, and both it and the power cord are long enough to avoid any placement problems.
You might find yourself using blu-tac to keep the projector from sliding around if cables start moving or if it's on a smooth surface.
When they say you should run the C205 at 720p instead of 1080p, you should probably heed the advice. While movies played fine at the higher resolution, we found text displayed horribly.
The device is a tiny 144 x 108 x 27mm and weighs only 300g.
The bulb is a 200 ansi lumin LED and rated to last 20,000 hours or 30,000 if you run it in its "eco" mode.
One of the niftiest of the C205's capabilities is the ability to display straight from your smart phone using the included micro-usb to HDMI MHL cable. Keep in mind that not all phones are MHL-ready. For a list of those that are, go to http://bit.ly/Szo25n.
I bought one for my bedroom.
Pricing and availability
Vendor: Acer Australia
Product name: Acer C205
RRP: AU$499 inc GST; NZ$599 inc GST
Availability: Available now in Australia, available by order in New Zealand